Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Getting ready to hit the hay tonight after a relaxing pedicure. I even shoved off the gym tonight, something I don't ever do. Had a couple slices of vegy pizza and a low fat yogurt expresso chip cone. My last meal, so to speak, before surgery tomorrow morning. Have to be at CELEBRATION HEALTH HOSPITAL by 6 am for the 7:30 am surgery.  

I did some quick calculations regarding the cost of last year's surgery. The total cost for hospital, doctor visits, three aftercare followups, progress mri's, cat scans and x-rays was $150,135.24. The negotiated amount that the insurance company paid out of that total was $47,396.80. Are you still breathing? My total out-of-pocket last year (and this was all for back related issues) was $3500.00. Yes, it is expensive and would be nearly impossible to pursue without insurance. Of course, as I am sure those of you with chronic back pain can agree, there is no price that can be placed on living a pain free life. I strongly urge anyone who is in the cycle of physical therapy, steriod injections and oral medication, epidurals and even having a morphine pump directly implanted in your back, please take matters into your own hands. Many insurance companies will not approve spinal fusion until after you have spent countless months, and sometimes even years, playing their game. Meanwhile, your quality of life erodes while you wait to finally reach the level of pain that a faceless corporation feels is needed in order to approve this costly procedure. There is something a lot of us forget when dealing with insurance companies and doctors....WE ARE THE CUSTOMER...they work for us. I've had to insist on a couple of things the past two years in order to get the correct diagnosis. I know my body and knew that I was not getting relief, so something else had to be done. I did tons of research on spinal fusion, made sure all my questions to the doctors were written out before each office visit and made sure they were answered. I'm paying for these visits, I'm the customer. Please don't accept something you don't understand. Don't accept an insurance company representative telling you you haven't reached their level of 'disability' yet so they can't approve a surgery. I have been so fortunate to not have these two fusions questioned by the insurance company. I have United HealthCare and they have been wonderful. I've had only a couple of issues that were resolved quickly and not even worth detailing.

I will do my best to post something every day during this whole recovery process. If something I write helps even one person who faces this type of surgery then I feel this will be worth it. Please feel free to post any question. I promise to answer it honestly. Good night...

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